Daily Archives: April 6, 2012

Gregg Olson Interview: Talking Ball with One of the Greatest Closers in MLB History

Friday April 6th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: As a big fan of baseball cards growing up (weren’t we all), one of my favorite memories was opening up my first pack of 1989 Donruss. For those of you that never saw that particular baseball card set, it is longer considered one of the ugliest cards of all time. The choice of colors was interesting to say the least. But for those that grew up with it, the cards were beautiful to us and we loved it! In that first pack of cards, I got a Gregg Olson “rated rookie”. The set featured many great rookie cards, including Griffey, Sheffield and Tom Gordon. But the Olson was my fave. The close-up on his wind-up. The intense competitor’s face. That card was forever burned in my mind. I became a huge Gregg Olson fan and watched his career from his MLB debut in 1988 and ROY season to follow in 1989. It all started though from that first pack of baseball cards. Thank you Donruss…wherever you are…

Being based in Toronto, I had the pleasure of watching Gregg Olson pitch on many occasions as a member of those Baltimore Orioles squads. From 1989-1993, Gregg rang up 160 saves in one of the dominant runs I had ever seen from a MLB closer.  The most saves at the time for a closer under 27-years of age. In 1989, Gregg won the AL Rookie of the Year award and finished 6th in CY Young voting. He was named an AL All-Star in 1990 (the only All-Star game nod in his career). Elbow issues unfortunately set back his career and Gregg did not get the chance to jump back into the closer’s role in 1998, while a member of the Diamondbacks. After 14 years in the big leagues and 217 career saves, Gregg Olson had a career that most players could only dream of. Had things played out differently health-wise, we would have seen him in Cooperstown one day, along with the other top closers of the modern-day, including Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera.

Known for his fastball and devastating curveball nicknamed “Uncle Charlie”, Gregg Olson was as good as they get in his prime. It was very difficult in my mind to see him outside of a Baltimore Orioles jersey, but so goes the business of baseball. Gregg ended up playing for 9 major league teams, with a playoff appearance with the aforementioned Diamondbacks coming in 1999. Today on MLB reports, we had a chance to catch up with the Baltimore Orioles Hall-of-Fame pitcher and talk some great baseball. Gregg was at home watching the Masters, but was kind enough to take some time for us. Following his retirement, Gregg Olson has been one busy cat. A Scout for the San Diego Padres. Published Author of the baseball book “We Got to Play Baseball”. Part Owner and President of “Toolshed Sports“- a leading manufacturer of high performance undergear. Gregg has his hands in many facets of the game of baseball! He spoke to us about all parts of his career, from getting drafted and playing with the Orioles to his current ventures and roles (and everything in-between). Gregg is a great personality to speak with. He is funny, sarcastic and extremely knowledgeable. He tells it like it us and doesn’t hold back. Much like the dominant closer in the 9th inning that went straight after top hitters in tight ballgames- Gregg Olson approaches life with the same vigour and intensity. One of my personal favorite baseball players of all-time, baseball fans are in for a treat as I spoke exclusively one-on-one with one of the greatest closers in MLB history.  Today on MLB reports, I am proud to feature my conversation with the one and only, Gregg Olson:


Welcome to MLB reports Gregg.  First question: A 1st round pick (4th overall) in 1988.  Did you expect to go that high in the draft? Did you always know you would be heading to Baltimore?

I actually did. I was told that it was down to Andy Benes and myself for the 1st pick, so it was going to be 1-5. Baltimore wanted me- so it was either going to be San Diego or Baltimore.


It didn’t take you many games- only a handful until reaching the majors in 1988.  How did you get the call? Tell us about that experience.

I really don’t remember how I was told. I had it in my contract that I would be there by September 1st. So it wasn’t a surprise. I do remember flying from Charlotte to Seattle with Curt Schilling (my roomie) for our first trip as big leaguers. Read the rest of this entry

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A Breakout Year is Coming for Brandon Phillips in 2012

Friday April 6th, 2012

Ryan Ritchey:  Since entering the majors in 2002 Brandon Phillips hasn’t left the state of Ohio. He changed teams though, moving from Cleveland to Cincinnati in 2006. Originally drafted by the Expos in 1999, Phillips never did make it to Canada. There were many reports back in Cleveland that as a youngster, Phillips was trouble in the clubhouse and off the field. So Indians management decided to trade him. Rich Aurilia was the Reds starting second basemen in the ’05 season, who decided to find a better home, so the Reds picked up Brandon Phillips. From opening day in ’06 Phillips has given everything he has to be the best. From the moment he joined Cincy, Phillips has been nothing short of spectacular. A complete change from his reputation going into the trade. Now in 2012, this is the year I believe he will have has his breakout season for Cincinnati. Read the rest of this entry

So the Season Opener Was sold Out- What about Game #2?

Friday Apr.6/2012

(From a Greyhound Bus Ride from New York City to Boston)

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer- and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)-Having just finished watching the New York Mets be victorious 1-0 over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field in their season opener, it has me now thinking,  what is the attendance going to be for Game # 2?  Despite reports that the game was sold out, there were many empty seats out there.   This is a problem for a lot of teams in the Majors, but it is becoming a problem to even big market teams like the Mets.  A dwindling team payroll, with devastating and unfortunate injuries have not been aided by the Wilpon’s financial status either in New York.  If Johan Santana can recapture any likeness to his old self, the Mets actually might be okay this year.  (Kind of like when the construction workers in the movie ‘Major League’ don’t think that the team is that bad.) Read the rest of this entry

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